Ovarian Cysts: Diagnosis and Treatment

Ovarian Cyst- Introduction

Solid or fluid-filled pockets in or on the ovary, Ovarian Cysts treatment is quite common, especially in pregnant or perimenopausal women.

Usually Painless and harmless, one might get one every month as part of the regular menstrual cycle and never know as they usually go away on their own without treatment.

However, a cyst can become a matter of concern when it doesn’t go away or gets bigger or painful. There can also be the chance of their being cancerous, though it’s rare. The chances of their being cancerous increase as one grows older.

Though most cysts do not cause any symptoms and go away on their own, a large ovarian cyst can cause:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Fullness or heaviness in the abdomen
  • Bloating

One must seek immediate medical attention if one experiences:

  • Sudden or severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Pain combined with fever or vomiting
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness or weakness

Experiencing any of the above symptoms is a reason to immediately consult a doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment.

Ovarian Cyst Diagnosis

Many cysts are diagnosed by chance during a routine examination or an ultrasound scan for some other reason, as usual, the cysts have no symptoms.

The doctor examines the abdomen and performs an internal (vaginal) examination if one has symptoms suggestive of an ovarian cyst, to feel any abnormal swelling.

An ovarian cyst can be confirmed by an ultrasound scan and a blood test called a CA125. The normal test means that it is unlikely that the cyst is cancerous.

Though a normal blood test does not completely rule out ovarian cancer in itself, it can do in combination with an ultrasound appearance of a benign cyst.

Some other tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan are sometimes recommended in a few cases, where the ultrasound scan is not conclusive or the CA125 result is higher than normal.

As most cysts disappear after a few weeks or months, the doctors usually do not immediately recommend a treatment plan. The ultrasound test may be repeated in a few weeks or months to check the condition.

In case of no changes in condition or increase in the size of the cyst, additional tests are recommended to determine other causes of the symptoms. These tests include:

  • Pregnancy test 
  • hormone level test to check too much estrogen or progesterone
  • CA-125 blood test to screen for ovarian cancer 

 

Ovarian Cyst Treatment

Most of the small ovarian cysts resolve and disappear over a few months. One may be advised to repeat an ultrasound scan after a few months or so. No further action is needed If the cyst goes away on its own.

The treatment of ovarian cysts depends on factors such as:

  • Age and whether one is past menopause
  • The appearance and size of the cyst from the ultrasound scan.

The treatment to shrink or remove the cyst is recommended if it doesn’t go away on its own or if it grows larger. 

The treatment may include:

To know more:- What is an Ovarian Cyst Symptoms and Treatment?

Ovarian Cyst Surgery

If the patient has any symptoms or if the cyst is large, its removal may be recommended. It may also be important to remove the cyst to determine exactly its type of cyst and to make sure there are no cancer cells in it.

The two types of surgeries commonly performed for this purpose are:

Laparoscopy:

Laparoscopic surgery also known as Keyhole surgery is performed to remove smaller cysts in which cancer has been ruled out by the imaging test results  A tiny incision side near the navel and a small instrument is inserted into the abdomen to remove the cyst. 

Laparotomy:

A larger cyst is surgically removed in an open style surgery through a large incision in the abdomen and an immediate biopsy is conducted to determine if it’s dangerous. A hysterectomy to remove the ovaries and uterus is performed if the results of the biopsy revealed cancer.

 

Pills for Ovarian Cyst

Patients with recurrent ovarian cysts are sometimes prescribed oral contraceptives to stop ovulation and deter the growth of new cysts.

Oral contraceptives also help to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Postmenopausal women have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Bottomline

Though quite common, some cysts can cause infertility if left untreated. The doctor sometimes has to remove or shrink the cyst to improve fertility.

The doctors usually approach ovarian cysts with the ‘wait and watch’ method initially. However, immediate surgery is recommended to remove and examine any cyst or growth that develops on the ovaries after menopause, because of the increased risk of developing a cancerous cyst or ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women. 

Although there is usually no risk of ovarian cancer with cysts, doctors recommend removing cysts larger than 5 cms.

If you have been experiencing symptoms like pelvic pain, erratic periods, bloating, or having difficulty conceiving, contact Dr. Shivani Bhutani at EVA Hospital, a competent best gynecologist and infertility specialist in Ludhiana, who has been successfully treating patients with ovarian cysts.